Growing up in rural McCamey, Texas might have been a bit too quiet for many kids, but Julia found plenty of activities to feed her insatiable curiosity .
This 17-year-old plays the bass guitar, makes a perfect pie crust, enjoys refinishing furniture, and loves powerlifting heavy weights. Like most teenagers, she also loves hanging out with friends, but as she got older she started to become more self conscious of her smile.
“Smiling is pretty important when you’re around people; it makes everyone feel good. I’m not sure what our friendships would be like if people didn’t smile, make jokes and laugh with each other,” she says.
When she was younger, Julia’s gap-toothed smile was cute. But when she got to high school, having a large space between her two front teeth – big enough to almost fit a pencil through it – made Julia self-conscious, especially with groups of friends.
“I really resented my gap for a very long time; it was something I was pretty insecure about,” she recalls.
“I was afraid people would judge me when I smiled, or not like me because of my gap, so I closed myself off. I know braces are expensive. I didn’t want to put my mom through that, so I gave up all hope of closing my gap.”
Melanie asked her daughter over the years if her gap bothered her, even though she knew fixing it would be challenging: The closest dentist was about 70 miles away.
“When I noticed that Julia would unconsciously cover her mouth when she was talking and cover her teeth with her top lip when she smiled, it broke my heart as a mom,” recalls Melanie.
“She was holding herself back. I felt bad and thought, I’ve got to figure out a way to fix this.”
Melanie says she always researches products thoroughly before buying them because when it comes to her kids, she insists on top quality along with the best value. She discovered SmileDirectClub on social media and was intrigued by both how affordable the treatment plans were and how little time investment was required compared to braces.
“When I saw that SmileDirectClub had a very reasonable cost and a payment plan, plus for those of us that don’t have easy access, I knew this was how we could fix Julia’s teeth.”
Melanie especially liked the idea of not having to drive to appointments every few weeks.
“I saw a lot of good results online and people said good things about it, so I thought this was something we could try,” says Melanie, who insisted that Julia pay for half the cost of her SmileDirectClub treatment plan so her daughter would be invested in the process.
“Julia’s financially savvy and saves her money, so I knew if she was willing to pay half the cost, she’d commit to sticking with the program and literally put her money where her mouth is,” says Melanie.
Julia came up with her share of the cost by working as a school janitor last summer.
When Melanie took Julia for her 3D image at a SmileShop, they were impressed by what they learned.
“Knowing that a doctor looked at Julia’s medical records and designed a treatment plan specifically for her was very reassuring. I felt very confident going into it,” says Melanie.
“My SmileGuide was really nice. She told us all the information we needed. I felt really comfortable with her,” adds Julia, who was fascinated to see the 3D animation of how her teeth would look week by week during the whole process.
When the big blurple SmileDirectClub box of clear aligners arrived at Julia’s house, she was ecstatic to start treatment.
“It was cool seeing all the aligners and the little gadgets SmileDirectClub sent, like the teeth-whitening gels and lip balm,” she recalls.
“I started using the aligners that day. Following the treatment plan was so easy; all I had to do was set it up on my calendar to change my aligners every Monday. And I got texts telling me when to change them.”
A few weeks into the aligner treatment, Julia felt her teeth slowly shifting. “I noticed that I couldn’t put a straw through my teeth anymore,” she recalls.
Melanie started to notice changes in Julia’s teeth after just one month. “I was very surprised that it was happening so fast; I was in complete shock,” says Melanie.
Julia got accustomed to prioritizing her dental care while at school, making sure to remove her aligners to eat and brushing and flossing her teeth before putting them back in.
“I cannot believe how fast my gap closed. I anticipated a couple of years wait time, but four months it was all it took,” says Julia.
‘Before treatment, my smile was small and hidden, and only showed up on rare occurrences. Now, it’s something I’m proud to use every day.”
The future looks bright
With Julia going off to college in the fall, Melanie is delighted with her new smile.
“I’m very happy with Julia’s results. She takes selfies now, and doesn’t cover her mouth when she talks. A new smile is more than just straight teeth. Seeing Julia’s confidence, I know I made the right choice,” she says.
Julia says that before her SmileDirectClub treatment, she had accepted that her teeth would have a huge gap for the rest of her life.
“But now, I feel more open to the world and I’m showing the world who I am,” says Julia, who wears a retainer to keep her teeth in place.
“It’s an incredible alternative to braces and I love that it was fixed that quickly. I’m not afraid to smile. I just feel better and more comfortable with myself. I know my smile will be an important part of my future. To other teens looking to use smile direct club, I would say, go ahead and do it.”